Randy Angel

Locals boys, girls capture Cal Cup beach volleyball titles

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Mira Costa senior Piper Monk-Heidrich dives to pass the ball to teammate Abby Van Winkle during their Cal Cup championship match. The duo won the title and will continue to be teammates for UCLA. Photo by Kat Monk

by Randy Angel

With their collegiate careers set to begin in a few weeks, Manhattan Beach’s Pippa Monk-Heidrich and Dane Johnson ended their summers with a bang, capturing Cal Cup titles on their hometown sands on Saturday.

The Cal Cup is an invitation-only event that features players who have won at least one of 12 events on the CBVA Premier Tour.

Monk-Heidrich and San Clemente’s Abby Van Winkle, who will be teammates at UCLA, defeated Redondo Beach’s Kyla Doig and Elizabeth Waters-Leiga (San Leandro) for the prestigious Girls 18U title.

“Being able to win my last youth tournament ever was a fantastic feeling,” Monk-Heidrich said. “It was a perfect way to finish off my junior career. Our final match was definitely our hardest. We had beat the team earlier in pool play so they came out very motivated in finals. We knew it was going to be harder to beat them a second time, but we stayed focused and consistent on our side of the net. This win is high on my list of favorites because it was my last youth tournament ever. Now I’ll be going into UCLA with some amazing finishes.”

Another strong partnership featured Manhattan Beach’s Olivia Bakos and Laguna Beach’s Peri Brennan, who won the 16U crown.

Bakos, who has committed to play sand volleyball at USC, will eventually face off against her partner as Brennan had committed to UCLA.

“Winning the Cal Cup was one of my top goals for the summer,” Bakos said. “Peri is an amazing player. We have been consistently playing together for the past three years, which has led to our success in these big tournaments. Moving forward, I will be focused on training with my coaches Barbra Fontana, Holly McPeak and Eric Fonoimoana while looking forward to playing in Women’s Opens and other professional qualifying events.”

Bakos and Brennan plan to up their game playing in the newly-formed p1440 beach volleyball series founded by 3-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings and her husband Casey,

“Winning the Cal Cup with Olivia was the highlight of my summer,” Brennan said. “Now on to try our skills in more Opens – The Gene Selznick p1440 qualifier in Zuma Beach on Sept 8 and then the p1440 qualifier in San Jose competing on a higher level against the pros. I can’t wait.” Local girls also won titles in the 14U and 12U brackets. Kelly Belardi (Manhattan Beach) and Savannah Standage (Redondo Beach) reigned victorious in the 14U division while Hermosa Beach’s Charlie Fuerbringer partnered with London Wijay (Northridge) to capture the 12U title.

In boys competition, Dane Johnson and partner John Schwengel (Santa Monica) defeated Timothy Brewster (Manhattan Beach) and Lance Muret (Encinitas) for the crown.

Hermosa Beach’s Benjamin Coordt joined forces with Grant Strong of Clearwater, Florida to win the boys 16U competition while the Manhattan Beach duo of Mick Bakos and Ryan Sprague won the boys 14U title.

“The Cal Cup championship was a blast,” Bakos said. “Ryan and I have played together for a long time and continue to get better each tournament. After winning the Cal Cup U12 and U14 divisions, we look forward to getting better, playing in more tournaments and hopefully competing in next year’s U16 division.”

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